Document Type : Review Paper
Department of Food and Drug, Control Laboratory of Food and Drug, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran.
Department of Pharmacognosy, School of Pharmacy, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran
Biotechnology Research Center, Pharmaceutical Technology Institute, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran.
Origanum vulgare L. (O. vulgare) is an important medicinal herb of the family Lamiaceae. In the current study, we explained the critical evaluation of traditional uses, the phytochemistry and the antimicrobial properties of O. vulgare and its subspecies, with a focus on the mechanisms of actions of the most important phytochemicals from O. vulgare subspecies. The most important phytochemicals of O. vulgare are volatile (essential oil) and non-volatile phenolic compounds (phenolic acids & flavonoids). The constituents of the O. vulgare essential oil (EO) include high percentages of thymol and carvacrol with excellent antimicrobial activity alone or in combination with other antibiotics. Interesting results have been reported the remarkable antimicrobial activities of infusion or tea products of O. vulgare with a high amount of EO against multidrug‐resistant bacterial and fungal microorganism (such as Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Candida albicans and Pseudomonas aeruginosa). The most important antibacterial mechanisms of O. vulgare are enzyme inhibition, efflux pump inhibition, ATP depletion, biofilm formation inhibition and cytoplasmic membrane damage. The antimicrobial activity of the hirtum subspecies has been confirmed in different in-vitro and in-vivo studies. The present review confirms the clinical and preclinical research showing the O. vulgare and its subspecies antimicrobial effects.